By Hedwig Kröner
At the 40th Amstel Gold Race taking place next Sunday, April 17, Manolo Saiz' team Liberty Seguros-Würth will send seven riders, including Carlos Barredo, who had a strong showing in the first Belgian spring classics of the season, as well as last weekend at Paris-Roubaix. Barredo has developed an unusual habit of breaking away at these races. At the GP Pino Cerami, he attacked after only 11 km of the 184 km distance, and stayed away until he was caught in the finale. Although he didn't have the legs for the win, Barredo held on for a very respectable third place. At the Ronde Van Vlaanderen, he did it again, and in Paris-Roubaix, Barredo counter-attacked on the first break and joined it after 57 km in St-Quentin, with 202 km to race.
"I have a greater chance of doing well at these races when I break away," Barredo explained. "In Flanders and Roubaix, my aim was to actually make it to the finish, so I couldn't stay inside the bunch and risk a crash. I had to attack to finish in the highest possible placing. At the three days of de Panne and GP Cerami it was different, because I had good chances to win."
Last Sunday, the 23 year-old finished 52nd, eight minutes down on the winner, Tom Boonen. "To me, it's a much more difficult race than Flanders," he said. "I thought I would never see the end of it; it was an enormous pleasure to enter the velodrome. It was hard for me as I had been struggling with stomach problems the days before, and I could hardly eat during the race. I could have finished in Top 10 if it hadn't been for that."
Barredo will be joined by his teammates David Etxebarria, Jörg Jaksche, Isidro Nozal, Sergio Paulinho, Marcos Serrano and Ángel Vicioso in the next classics. Added to this roster at Flèche Wallonne (April 20) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège (April 24) will also be Koen de Kort.